Alameda

In September 1869, the transcontinental railroad was set to arrive at San Francisco Bay. But there was one problem: the San Francisco & Oakland Railroad’s wharf at Gibbons Point was not yet ready to accommodate the trains. A. A. Cohen was happy to learn that the history-making train would travel arrive not in Oakland, but in Alameda on “his” tracks — the Cohen line.

Cohen was a transportation man. He built the San Francisco & Alameda Railroad (SF&A) in 1864. By 1868, Cohen had also acquired interest in the Oakland Railroad and Ferry Company. He sold both to the Central Pacific Railroad’s Big Four: Leland Stanford, Charles Crocker, Collis Huntingdon and Mark Hopkins.

The sale made Cohen a wealthy man who could afford the best. In 1872, He and his wife, Emilie, hired the architectural firm of Wright and Sanders to help them express their affluence.

The following year John Wright and George H. Sanders (variably spelled Saunders) completed the 70-plus-room mansion that anchored the Cohens' palatial estate. In social registers such as the San Francisco Blue Book, the Cohens listed their residence as “Fernside, Buena Vista & Versailles Ave., Alameda.”

David Perry was busy when a reporter called him this past Saturday afternoon. He was packing boxes for a move from the Paru Street apartment where he has lived for the past seven years.

Alameda’s City Council appears set to sign off on a new ordinance requiring companies purchasing large grocery stores to retain workers for at least 90 days if the stores’ ownership changes.

Council members expressed unanimous support Tuesday night for a proposed ordinance requiring stores over 15,000 square feet to post ownership changes and retain workers for 90 days after a sale or transfer takes place.

Proposed by City Councilman Jim Oddie, the ordinance is modeled on a 2005 ordinance passed by Los Angeles lawmakers that survived a state Supreme Court challenge and has also been adopted by San Francisco, Santa Monica and Gardena.

Council members said goodbye to two top officials, got a detailed update on plans for Alameda Point's Site A - and wrapped up before midnight with a few items left on the table. Here's what happened, in tweets.

The 88th annual Alameda Commuters golf tournament teed off last weekend at the Chuck Corica Golf Complex with a field of 208 of the best amateur golfers from the west coast of California.

Last week’s conversation piece on development at Alameda Point was such a success that this week, I decided to tackle another big topic around town: Street safety for cyclists and pedestrians.

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Broad Brush, your weekly, two-sentence local news review. Here’s what happened on the Island this week.

What are your hopes and dreams for Site A and Alameda Point? Our conversation is taking place here.

Spring is here, and even with the drought, flowers are blooming, and trees are putting on their frills. Over at Megan Small Photography, Megan Small is getting ready to celebrate her first year of business in Alameda (her sixth year overall) – and keeping busy with the demand that spring and the quickly approaching Mother’s and Father’s Day holidays create.

Highlights:

  • The City Council will consider amended five-year contracts for public safety workers on April 29 which would go into effect in November if approved.
  • The contracts establish a trust fund for retiree health benefits. The city would pay $7.5 million into the trust fund over 10 years; workers would pay between 2 percent and 4 percent of the top step of pay for their position into the fund over the next decade.
  • The contracts also offer wage increases that would raise pay at least 9.3 percent and change pension payouts to reflect a safety retiree’s top salary, and not their top three years of pay.

City officials are recommending the City Council approve a permanent civilian staffer to create and execute plans to help Alameda bounce back quickly from a range of disasters – the third position the city is creating to better prepare it for disasters.

The proposal comes roughly a year after the city lost a lucrative grant that could have helped fund a chief resilience officer who would have served as a high-level point person who would work with a broad array of stakeholders to identify and address resilience challenges.